LOTTERIES are being used in many parts of the United States to help finance public school systems. The fact is, this policy may do more to promote gambling than to bolster the schools.
At the same time, hard-pressed taxpayers and those who represent them in town halls and state legislatures are vetoing tax initiatives aimed at shoring up shaky school systems.
All the while, there is general lamentation over the poor condition of American schools and schooling - and exhortation to put more effort into improving the national education system.
It's the height of hypocrisy.
This is not an anti-gambling polemic. This is about giving the wrong signal to America's children; it's about insinuating that there is such a thing as getting something for nothing.
It is also about lacking the fortitude to make some significant sacrifices so that students in the US (including those at the college level) will have the tools to put this nation back on its feet again - economically, intellectually, scientifically, and morally.
The promise of a few thousands or millions from gambling is a chimera. Those who see it as more than the shadow of a true commitment are misled and misleading.
Some critics may charge that the real problem is a lack of leadership and professionalism in the US education system, rather than a lack of dollars.
Actually, many credible strategies for meeting the educational challenges at local, state, and national levels have been put forward.
Most needed is a commitment to do whatever it takes to implement the strategies - and that includes submitting to taxation as well as participating in the educational process as concerned citizens and parents. Then the educational system that nurtured past generations of Americans will continue to generate knowledge and values essential to the preservation of democracy.